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Building Relationships in Portugal

William Browder

Will Browder (left), a senior at Brewton-Parker College, poses while on the mission field in Portugal. He spent seven months serving as a missionary in 2013.

Algarve Pirates

Will Browder, jersey number 28, poses with the American football team he plugged into while in Portugal. “When we think of missions, we tend to think of going somewhere and handing out tracks…but where I was at, that didn’t work.” (Photos by Lauren Moye)

By Lauren Moye

BPC Staff Writer

MOUNT VERNON— At only age twenty-one, Brewton-Parker College student Will Browder has already learned an important lesson best summed up in 1 Timothy 1:5: “The Goal of this Command is Love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” Through the International Mission Board’s Hands On program, Browder served as a missionary intern in Portugal from January 15, 2013 through August 5, 2013.

“I don’t know if it was a new lesson or reinforced, but God really taught me how important relationships are,” Browder said about his time spent in another country. As an intern, Browder plugged into sports ministry as a way to build these relationships. He spent a lot of time with the newest American Football team in Portugal, the Algarve Pirates, and even padded up and played in games with them as a way to build these relationships. “When we think of missions,” he continued, “We tend to think of going somewhere and handing out tracts, or going somewhere and preaching to people off the street…but where I was at, that didn’t work.”

At the start of the application process for Hands On, Portugal was not at the top of Browder’s list, or even in the top ten. Originally, he wanted to return to West Africa where he had been on a previous short-term mission trip. However, a few months before he was supposed to leave, he found out that his supervisors would actually be returning to the States halfway through the trip. This meant that Browder would have to go a different location.

Out of a list of ten countries, Browder selected five new locations he felt like he could serve in. Portugal was not one of them. However, when the decision came down between Portugal and Moscow, it became obvious that God was at work. When talking about this process, Browder remarked, “I think if I could say one thing to everybody looking to serve God, it would be to not give up. From the start of my story, I wanted to go somewhere, then somewhere else, but was never able to go where I wanted to go. But God kept saying I’m going to use you. God’s going to use you as long as you’re willing.”

Once in Portugal, Browder had to deal with language barriers, culture shock, and the drain he faced from ministering full-time. Spending so much time with a worldly football team was draining both physically and spiritually. In addition, his partner intern had to drop out two weeks before they left for Portimao, which meant Browder lived alone. “I had to completely rely on God and I had to keep pushing on,” he said.

To help compensate for the strain of relational evangelism, Browder plugged into a local youth group. “That environment became an environment where I could really disciple, and where I could get a breath of fresh air,” Browder said.

As Browder focused on building relationships with the Portuguese people, his passion for others and Christ began to open doors in the younger generations closer to Browder’s age. Talking about his supervisor, Browder said, “Don Billi told me that I opened so many doors being there, because I was an example and that it was possible to be in the twenties and be a Christian. I didn’t even realize that I was doing this. Sometimes I felt almost like I was in the way during the summer.”

Through it all, God continued to drive in the relational aspect of evangelism and discipleship. “Missions for Christ and building relationships with others cannot be two separate things,” Browder concluded, “They have to go together.”

Brewton-Parker College is the only accredited four-year Christian college south of Macon and north of Jacksonville, FL. The mission of Brewton-Parker College, a Georgia Baptist college, is to develop the whole student through the application of Biblically-centered truth to a liberal arts curriculum in a community of shared Christian values.

Visit Brewton-Parker College online at www.bpc.edu.

-BPC-

The mission of Brewton-Parker College, a Georgia Baptist college, is to develop the whole student through the application
of Biblically-centered truth to a liberal arts curriculum in a community of shared Christian values.
 
Brewton-Parker College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Brewton-Parker College.
 
Brewton-Parker College | Located on U.S. 280 at 201 David-Eliza Fountain Circle, P. O. Box 197, Mount Vernon, GA 30445
with a site in Newnan
912-583-2241, 1-800-342-1087
Get directions to the main campus.
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October 1, 2013 4:52 PM